THE huge difference made to flood-hit people by the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund has been revealed in a new report.

The major appeal was launched as Storm Desmond battered the county on Saturday, December 5, 2015 and quickly captured people's imaginations nationwide.

In the first 48 hours, £100,000 poured in - rising to £1 million after just five days.

Thanks to generous benefactors, charity events and government match funding, the appeal went on to raise almost £10.3 million.

The tireless work of the volunteers on the grants panel has seen £9.6 million given out to help 3,157 flood-hit families and 167 community groups. Those grants include:

- £383,432 to 18 organisations to provide advice and guidance to people affected by the floods - such as Citizens Advice, Sandylands Methodist Church’s Encouragement Cabin, Churches Together, Age UK and the British Red Cross

- £1,247,989 to help 106 groups repair flood-damaged facilities not covered by insurance, and to deliver key services from temporary accommodation

- £132,058 to 12 groups supporting emotional well-being across the county

- £225,096 to 16 community response groups and two search and rescue organisations to help prepare communities for future flooding

- and £350,536 to 12 small 'at risk' communities for local flood resilience schemes, developed with the Environment Agency and local councils.

The new report highlights how grateful people were for the help given and the prompt, fair and sympathetic way they were treated by the Cumbria Community Foundation team.

One person said: "Without the grant, I would have been homeless and housed in temporary accommodation unsuitable for my disability for months. CCF made me feel human.”

Another said: “It made all the difference, it helped me protect my home and kept me out of debt.”

Overall, the appeal attracted 35,000 donations. The first grant was awarded just four days after Storm Desmond. Fifty two per cent of Cumbria's 5,500 flooded households were helped, and the average grant given to families was £2,313.